My Training Diary

Wednesday, 13 June 2007  |  Running + Triathlon

In running, or any other sport for that matter, a training diary can be an athlete’s best friend. Real friends don’t fool you; they don’t lie; and they encourage you to do the best you can. A training diary will do that and more for a runner. Provided of course that you religiously record important information about each run, your diary will allow you to track your progress (look Ma I can now run a 10k with ease!), motivate you to reach your goal, help you determine the cause of an injury, fatigue, or explain how in the hell you ran so fast on a particular training day.

What information do you put into your training diary? Below is a basic list I’ve made, but feel free to add (like “Who did I date the night before I broke my PR?”) or omit data as you wish:

  1. Date and Day
  2. Distance
  3. Time
  4. Calories
  5. Comments (e.g., weather, feelings—physical and emotional, new accesories used, etc.)
  6. Companions, if any
  7. Pulse
  8. Weight before the run
  9. Diet (You may opt to have a separate Food Diary, so you may simply note if you’ve been “Good” or “Bad”)
  10. Goals (i.e., lose 5 lbs., run a full marathon by December, zip up those tight jeans so I don’t have to wear my shirt untucked all the time)
  11. Training Program
  12. Races joined and your time

Now, what diary do you use? There are available books in the market that are designed as training diaries for runners. I saw this NYRR Road Runners Running & Fitness Log in A Different Bookstore, Bonifacio High Street last month. I was so tempted to buy it, but as you very well know, I am a frugal shopper so I decided otherwise.

NYRR Training Log

– New York Road Runners Running & Fitness Log 2007 by New York Road Runners (Available at A Different Bookstore and Amazon) –

There are a host of other running diaries available in Amazon, but I am unsure of their availability locally. You may ask your favorite bookstore to bring them in for you or for a kind soul to carry them home from the U.S. For now, just surf and drool…

2 Diaries

– LEFT: The Runner’s Training Diary: For Fitness Runners and Competitive Racers by Bob and Shelly-Lyn Florence Glover, Amazon. RIGHT: The Running Log by April Powers, Amazon –

If you’re a techie, my friend E-Rod recommends breakingthetape.com, an online diary for runners and other athletes. Google other online or PC/mac-based applications and you’ll discover several programs that can go beyond the role of a logbook. Some will provide you with high-tech looking charts and graphs that you’ll run the risk of turning into a analytical geek instead of an athletic runner.

And, still there are those lucky people who use the programs that came along with their Nike+, Polar, Garmin and any other HRM or sports accessory that will practically do everything for you. It won’t be long till I shall become one of them. It won’t be long. It won’t be long. It won’t be long. Hmmm…do you think chanting that over and over will help me get my Polar sooner?

As for my own training diary, the creative and resourceful side of me popped up once again to save the day. I got myself a simple orange notebook (King Jim because it has tiny lines at the top and bottom to guide alignment of columns) and plotted my way through a personalized logbook.

During the early days of my running, when I was just working my way up to running a full 30 minutes through the RW Beginners’ Program, this is how my journal looked:

My Diary - Old

In hindsight, the layout is simply confusing and crowded. Just looking at the five pages I have of that layout gets me more exhausted than all the runs I recorded on them.

So, I recently changed the layout into this simple grid pattern which I tap myself on the back for everytime I leaf through it. (No, I am not self-absorbed, I just like boosting my own confidence every now and then.) Just one look and I can determine how my training program is going and where adjustments should be made.

Training Diary - new

At this instant, I find it glaringly obvious—and perhaps you do too—that I should cross-train on Tuesdays and Thursdays…if only to make use of the wasted paper space on the right.

Run For P.E.A.C.E.

Monday, 11 June 2007  |  Race Reports

This being my 4th race we—my hubby, son, and I—have got our pre-race preparation down pat. For a 6 am race like yesterday’s Run For P.E.A.C.E., we planned on arriving at 5:30 am, which meant that I would wake up at 4:30 am, followed by hubby at 4:40, then son at 5:00. We would be out of the house by 5:15 to arrive at the venue on time. As expected, that is exactly what took place yesterday morning.

The gods must have been bored to death by our predictability though because, as soon as the race started, there were a few surprises—pleasant and err not so pleasant—that were thrown my way.

(1) The route was changed! I signed up for the 10k, despite coming from a Batangas business trip the day before, on the premise that the route would be easy and flat as the race organizers had initially presented in their map. It was deja vu for me then when, after running around Libingan ng mga Bayani we were led to make a right turn towards C5. A right?! No way, I thought, because that would lead us all down the hill towards C5, which would have meant that we would take a u-turn and climb back up again! It was the Champion Race all over again—aaaaah!

(2) I’ve made a lot of running friends. I still remember my very first race vividly. I forced (uhm, I think “persuaded” sounds much better) my husband to accompany me for fear of looking like a lonesome loser waiting for the race to start. Fast forward to yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised to meet a few runners I’ve been in touch with online—Mon, Smith, Joms, and Tisha of H@ppy Feet Runners, Hitme64, and Renz. Of course, familiar faces like Mayi and Jamike—the coolest athletic couple ever who I have the pleasure to train with every now and then—were there too.

With The Lopas

– with Jamike and Mayi (who finished 10th) –

For the first time, I ran side by side with someone all throughout the race. Joms kept me entertained for a full hour with whatever he could dish out about anything under the sun. Well, there was certainly a lot for us to chat about since this was the first time we had ever really met (excluding the quick photo op in the Champion Race.)

(3) No pain! After struggling through a week of knee pain, I was paranoid about hurting my knee all over again. In fact, I was 80% sure that I would hear my knee clicking again after the race. But, nope—I felt no soreness, no pain, no snapping, no nothing—could it be that I’m getting stronger? Hmmm…it’s probably because I didn’t push too hard during this race.

(4) I broke my PR. Yup, I came in at 1:00:24, 33 seconds faster than my previous 10k. What surprises me though is that I broke it at all. I certainly did not give this race my best. For some reason, my mind wasn’t all that into it. I think I got turned off with the start of the race when we had to literally walk/jog our way out of the mass of runners in the narrow road leading to the cemetery.

Finish Line

– Running towards the finish line –

With Anton

– My little boy and I after the race. He’s pooped after his 3k –

(5) I placed 6th! Honestly, I don’t know if this is a surprise or a joke! Me, 6th place? 10 minutes after the race, as I was chatting away and taking photos, my hubby asks me about the piece of paper in my hand. I tell him it’s nothing—a man handed it over to me when I reached the finish line. When I take a look at it closely it says “6th Female.” Wooohooo! My time wasn’t all that great, but hey it feels awesome to discover that I was the 6th fastest woman in the 10k. Now, that was a surprise for you too, wasn’t it?

6th Place

– Who would have thought an index card could bring me so much joy? –

Cool Prizes From Rogin-E

Friday, 8 June 2007  |  News + Promos

Calling all MEN!

A friend emailed me a link to this Rogin-E online game that her team developed. The promo is only open to males above 18 years old. I know a lot of you guys reading this will jump at the chance to win these prizes (given out daily to the top scorer):

Timex
Sahora Backpack (Samsonite)
Adidas GC
Suriya Spa
Nike Gift Cheque
Gold’s Gym GC
Rustan’s GC
Ipod
Rudy Project Shades

Plus, a chance to win P250K!

Boy, I would love to get my hands on any of those. Why oh why is Rogin-E only for men?!

By the way, if you by any chance win the cash, the tracking system in The Bull Runner’s blog shall automatically deduct a 20% referral fee through your online bank account. Thank you in advance for the commission.

6 Weird Things About Me

Thursday, 7 June 2007  |  Bullish Insights

I got tagged by Hitme64: “Each player of this game starts with 6 weird things about himself or herself. People who get tagged need to write a blog entry of their own as well as state the rule clearly. In the end, you need to tag 6 people as well and list their names. Don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged!”

Now, as The Bull Runner only discusses all things running in this blog, the six quirks below are only those that appear in her life as a runner: (Don’t you think it’s weird already that I use third-person when I have to discuss something negative about myself?!)

{ 1 } Listening to awesome music while running gets me all teary-eyed. Seriously. The first time this occurred was while I was running solo in Alabang to U2’s “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Aaaaw, it was truly a beautiful Sunday. The sun was just about to set, the sky was purplish blue, and I had a new outfit on (Ack, I’m such a girl!) When the song started, I was so ecstatic I wanted to burst into tears. Then, while running at 6am in Camp John Hay, Baguio, it happened again when I heard New Radicals’ “Gotta Stay High.” There was even a time when I got dramatic while cooling down to Coldplay’s “Fix You”!

{ 2 } I carry an Astring-o-sol bottle filled with water during my runs. I’ve seen the New Balance Waterbottle Carrier at their stores, but I think it’s just way too big and ostentatious for anything less than a full marathon. Thanks to my resourcefulness (and yeah, frugality) I thought of using a mouthwash bottle! During the initial phases of my “product development”, I planned on getting the Listerine 80ml (I’m a Listerine girl! I used to handle that brand during my marketing days) but the mouth was too small to manage a drink on the run, so I forced myself to get what I still unbelievably perceive to be my competitor, Astring-o-Sol.

On a side note, I would drop the Astring-O-Sol bottle anytime, if I got this as a 2nd gift for Christmas. (Someone please tell my husband to read this):

Nathan Speed One

– I want a Nathan Speed One Water Bottle Carrier –

{ 3 } I am an obsessive-compulsive shoelace tier. You won’t believe this, but I must tie my laces around 6 to 8 times before going on a run. Most of the time, I lace up when I wear the shoes, before I leave, when I arrive at our meet up place, before I warm up, after the warm up, and right before running. Sometimes, I stop in the middle of the run to get that comfortable fit! For some reason, I want both shoes to be equally, perfectly tight. If anyone knows the name to this disease, do tell me.

{ 4 } I am a journal freak. Since I started running in December, I’ve religously tracked the date, distance, calories, and time of my runs in a simple orange King Jim notebook, which you’ll be seeing pretty soon when I write about it in a separate post. Now, aside from my running journal, I own the following: a moleskine (Oooh, I just love moleskines!) for personal entries and drawings, a Franklin Covey filofax as a planner and addressbook, a plain ol’ sketchpad for illustrations, another large hardbound sketch pad to store creative inspirations, and a large hardbound journal as another personal diary.

{ 5 } Again, my thriftiness results in another quirk: I only buy old issues of Runner’s World. I was just telling my husband that RW is my favorite magazine of all time as I can read it from start to finish without skipping any article—sooo unlike the fashion magazines I buy (I guess I’m just not the fahionista-type), yet I cannot shell out a mere P399 for it.

{ 6 } Save for a couple of times (I think Christmas and New Year!), I haven’t had my hair down since I started running. What’s strange with that? Uhm, during my pre-running life, I was obsessed with having my hair long and straight. I spent a bundle on hair rebonding, which I went through every 6 months. You would rarely catch me with my hair in a ponytail. Oh, how running changes lives even in the most mundane of things!

Now, I tag E-Rod, Banggigay, Ben, Windowshopper, Michelle, MrsPartyGirl

Runner’s Interview: Sen. Pia Cayetano

Monday, 4 June 2007  |  Interviews + Features

She ran for the Philippine Senate in 2004—and won the top sixth slot making her the youngest female Senator in the country. That is no mean feat, but for Senator Companera Pia S. Cayetano, that is just one of the many achievements she can tuck under her belt. You see, aside from her work in the Senate (which I’m sure comprises majority of her time), she was in the training pool of the Philippine National Duathlon Team, a Series Champion in the Ladies Division of Clark Duathlon (2004), and a finisher in the San Francisco Marathon (2002), ITU World Duathlon (2005), and the more recent Venice and New York Marathons. (Phew, just typing that out made me lose 1,000 calories!) Aside from that, Companera Pia finds the time for advocacy work in which she supports issues that are close to her heart. Oh, did I mention she is also a mother of two?!

Pia Sprint

– Sen. Pia sprints to finish her 10k at 50:40 –

I met Pia in 2002 when I started writing for Maxibulletin, the newsletter of Maxibear, Maxitoylab, Maxiworks, and Just Born, the chain of retail stores she built as an entrepreneur. Together, we would write and edit the articles every other month. When she became Senator in 2004, I continued to work on the bulletin alone. While Pia championed her causes for the nation, I battled typos and grammatical errors—mind you, my job was just as honorable…NOT. We only saw each other again in the Pinay In Action (PIA) Fun Run, the race she organized, which was the first race that got me hooked into running.

With work, training, family, and her advocacies, I was foolish enough to ask Companera Pia if she could find the time to be interviewed for this blog. Fortunately, she was gracious enough to accept this email interview so many of us runners can take a peek into her life as an athlete:

TBR: We know you’ve been into sports ever since you were young, like volleyball in your college days. When did you start running and joining marathons?

Pia: I started running as part of our training when I was part of the UP volleyball varsity team. We would run around the academic oval in UP which was 2.2km. That was already long for me back then. When I was 16 and a sophomore, I started running longer distances cause I felt I was putting on unnecessary and unwanted weight. So, I started joining 5k fun runs and running 2-3x around the academic oval.

If I remember right, I joined my first 10k and eventually half marathon much later, like after college..That was because I was so fat! Seriously, I had gained so much weight (living and working in NY for a while) and I needed to do something about it.. and that’s how I became a long distance runner…

I enjoyed joining races ranging from 10 to half marathons, but it took a while to do my first marathon…I did that in my senior year in law school in 1991, the PAL marathon.

Pia in Mekong River Race

– Sen. Pia at Mekong River Race where she did an olympic distance duathlon (10krun-40k bike-5k run) on Saturday and a sprint tri on Sunday (750 swim-20kbike-5k run) –

TBR: You organize marathons as well, “Run-Walk Bike For a Cause in Memory of Gabriel” and “Pinay In Action,” why do you think is this a good way to celebrate your cause?

Pia: First of all, I like to bring awareness or celebrate causes in a way that is close to my heart. Some people chose to do benefit concerts, others sponsor a play or a movie. I do what I do best, running, biking and stuff like that…Not only does this become an enjoyable process for me (its not easy raising funds) but it gets people involved in a healthier lifestyle.

Bike For Hope Pia Speaks

– Sen. Pia promotes cycling as an environment-friendly means of transportation during the 6th Bike For Hope –

TBR: You already ran the dream race of most runners, The New York Marathon. How did you prepare for this? How did you feel during the run and after?

Pia: How did I prepare? I made the decision to join in May, I think. That gave me 6 months to prepare. At that point, I was doing around 14k as my once a week long run. I worked with my coach Rob Pickard, and figured out the distance I had to cover backwards…meaning starting in the last two weeks before NY, I wanted to be running 30-35k comfortably. That would mean, I had to slowly build up to that distance. In July I was doing half marathons comfortably, working on both my speed and edurance. In August and September I slowly built up the distance to killer 30k plus long runs every other week. I died of boredom but I knew I needed to do it..Because doing a 30k is so long, a couple of times, I joined a half marathon and then ran 10k more after passing the finish line.

NY was meant to by my 3rd marathon (I say meant to be because may “nasingit” na marathon 2 weeks before. When I was finalizing my training program, I realized I would be in Europe for my conference with Women Parliamentarians during the time I had to do the crucial last long run. I looked if there were any 21k races that would serve as my last long run. There were none, but there were a few full marathons. To make a long story short, I decided to join the Venice Marathon but just do half…except that the night before the race, we realized I would be stranded in the middle of nowhere if I just stopped at 21k…so I completed it..and ended up running two marathons 2 weeks apart. Not a good thing to do, but I did PR both times..I did a 4:06 in NY.

How did I feel during and after? I was worried when I started NY because 2 weeks is not enough time to recover from a marathon. But 5k into the race, I was psyched and energized because I was feeling really good…I ran the last few miles with friends Fernando Zobel and later Paul Casino and that was really a good feeling… NY was my best race because I had trained well. My triathlon coach Rob Pickard was instrumental in working-out a doable albeit at times, grueling program. He made me do horrible horrible 1k repeats and long tempo runs.

TBR: How do you balance your roles as Senator, mother of two, and athlete? How do you find the time to train?

Pia: The short answer to that question..I just have to wake up earlier and not stay up too late to sqeeze in my work-out. The long answer…I’ve always been a busy person. I think being a breastfeeding mom, set the tone and gave me the training for balancing life between family, work and other things..I’m not a morning person, but I had to become one to squeeze in training..so I guess I’m now a reluctant morning person. Sometimes, I wonder why my sport was not an indoor sport like badminton where people play late at night (I do play badminton but not regularly these days).

Pia in NY

– Sen. Pia speaks against child discrimination and violence at an international conference in NY –

The key is planning. My training is like any other appointment that is booked in my calendar and that should be respected, meaning not cancelled or bumped off, unless absolutely necessary. From there, I know if I have to wake up extra-early or just in time to do the planned work-out for the day before my work week starts. If its a busy week, then I just have to do the harder/longer work-outs and catch up on my sleep on the week-end..

Session ends in the evening, I rarely get home before 8pm, usually too exhausted to work-out by that time.. And that’s my time for my kids. We do indoor activities on school days–anything from just hanging in our room, playing sungka (our favorite these days), reading, sometimes artwork when we are feeling creative. They go to a Montessori school and rarely have homework which is a good thing, if you ask me.

I also try to get my kids involved in sports, that way we can all enjoy what we are doing. I’ve started bringing my girls to a short-off road trail for mountain biking, just here in the village. i stink at it, but its good for bike handling skills and my 12 year old daughter likes it and is getting better. She also has done 2 triathlons na! Proud mom! My 8 year old, likes doing a few laps and playing in the pool when I swim sometimes.

Pia with Maxine

– Pia runs with her 12 y.o. daughter, Maxine, and best friend, Amanda, during their 2nd triathlon –

TBR: How does a week of your training program look?

Pia: Well, it really depends on what Im training for. I join triathlons, duathlons and running events year-round. So, I swim, bike and run during the week. I join as many races as I can. They destress me.

This is the general program, subject to tweaking depending on the upcoming race:

> MON – bike ride or brick (bike and run) if there is a triathlon or duathlon coming up) and if Im not too lazy. Sometimes swim in the evening, if and only if I get off by 7pm.
> TUE – long run (every other week) med distance in between weeks and yoga
> WED – long bike (every other week, if possible)
> THU – run intervals and swim (badminton too if I have time)
> FRI – REST
> SAT – brick, if not bike and swim or tempo run
> SUN – either a race, easy run or whatever I’m up to. Easy swim after the race or in the early evening.

Pia Bike For Hope

– During the 6th Bike For Hope –

TBR: What other races do you plan to join this year? Do you have other goals in sports that you want to achieve?

Pia: I join any 10k I hear off when Im free. Im working on my form and my speed. My goal is to get my time comfortable under 50mins. Not easy:(

TBR: What is your dream race?

Pia: As a runner, my dream race has always been the NY marathon. That’s why I made myself do it last year when the opportunity came about..So, I guess, I have fulfilled my dream…I wouldn’t mind joining races in different countries. I try to look for races when I travel, but lately, its only the Venice Marathon that I’ve done out of the country.

TBR: Why do you love running?

Pia: Oh, that’s a separate interview all in itself! But well, I love running because it helps me keep the weight off, I feel good after, usually during but defintely after. Haha! And it really is my time for myself, I’m used to running alone, I dont need a running partner or group to get out and run. But it is so much more fun doing it with friends and I take any opportunity I can to run with a friend.

TBR: Any advice for beginning runners?

Pia: Don’t force yourself to run far and fast. Go at an easy pace and don’t hesitate to take walk breaks. Unless you are the self-motivated type, do join a group or run with friends…

Be patient, the weight will come off, for those of you trying to lose weight, which is probably most of us… You will get fitter and faster and you will feel absolutely great.

If you have any comments/questions for Companera Pia, visit her here.

Photos courtesy of SenatorPiaCayetano.com, CayetanoFoundation.com